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Old 04-08-2009, 02:24 PM   #1
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How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

I am currently under a pain management program where I am taking percocet for some severe arthritis needs. The problem is that I am hooked on these pills and I can't stand it (at least I think I am). I really do not want to take them anymore because I am starting to think about buying them off the street and before I ever do that I will quit.
The problem is, I need something for my pain, so what do I do? My Dr has tried other methods such as Tramadol, Celebrex and other Nsaids, and none are working. My neighbor who is a nurse takes 4 10mg percocets a day with morphine as well. My Dr only has me on 3 5mg percocets a day. She tells me that it is not enough. When I asked him for more he told me that he would not do that because I would get hooked and want even more. I do not want to do that but it is not helping my pain. I am at my wits end. I can't take the pain but yet I do not want to get hooked on these meds.
Any suggestions?

 
Old 04-08-2009, 02:38 PM   #2
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Bremom-

My advice: Find a new doctor. Seriously, you have to be kidding me. I get so angry when I hear stories like yours. Now, I don't know anything about your addictive tendencies, so maybe there is more to your story. But if what you're saying is true....you really need to find a doctor who is willing to treat your pain better.

I am a chronic pain patient and what you are taking is very little. There are many pain patients who function in society every day and are on much more medication than you are...AND...who never abuse their medication.

First of all, there is a HUGE difference between addiction and dependence. Anyone who takes narcotic pain medication for any length of time will become physically dependent on them. If I were to stop taking my meds tomorrow, I would feel sick...physically and mentally. If you take EXACTLY as your doctor prescribes and you don't take more to get that high, then you are probably not addicted. (Again...I don't know you're whole story, so I am just commenting on what you wrote).

What does throw up a red flag of addiction is your statement about wanting to buy your medications off the street. This is a behavior typically associated with addiction. HOWEVER, if you are in pain and being undertreated by your doctor (which it sounds like your case), then you might be tempted to get pain relief where ever you can. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not to to the streets. You need to find yourself a good pain managment doctor who will treat your pain effectively. Once your pain is under control, hopefully your thoughts of going to the streets will subside. If not, then I believe an addiction may be developing.

I have been under the care of a wonderful pain doctor as well as a pain psychologist. He has really helped clarify the differences between addiction and drug dependence. If you have any other questions, I would love to help you.

Only YOU truely know if you have a problem starting with addiction. If you feel you are just trying to get some pain relief, then I suggest you posting on the Pain Management board. There are a bunch of wonderful people there to answer all of your questions.

Edited to add: Data shows that only a small percentage of chronic pain patients actually get addicted to pain meds. Most confuse the physical dependence for addiction. Once they come off their meds, they go on with life as is. It's that small percentage of people who do become addicted to meds...and they usually have addicted tendancies to begin with.

Best of luck to you.
10sox

Last edited by 10sox; 04-08-2009 at 02:47 PM.

 
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:31 PM   #3
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Thank you so much for your response. I was only looking at the streets to get more for pain. I know nothing about pain meds except for what my Dr tells me. But when my nurse neighbor told me that I should be getting more, then I was very concerned because I can't hardly function with my grandkids or my yard or any of the normal things that I love to do. I am going to search for a new Dr. I was honestly beginning to think that I was becoming an addict. I NEVER take my meds improperly. Although it is tempting sometimes. Thank You for showing me that I have other options and that I need to get better help and a better Dr. That actually gives me hope because I was beginning to get really depressed because of the pain. Now that I know that there is really help out there for me I am going to search for it in the right way and NOT on the streets. You are a very kind person and I appreciate your responding to me. Thanks!

 
Old 04-08-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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Wink Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

if you dont want to get hooked stop now with a taper . at higer doses it will be so much harder . where i live they dont give out narcotics for chronic pain unless your like 90. because of the large amount of people that get addicted daily. i live with siatica fibromialgia an arthritis in just about every joint .low impact bike streching has worked for me. an the pain is better when i am more active . i was taking the same amount for a bike wreck it was trying to suck me in . if you dont want to reach full blown addiction you will learn to an find other alernatves to deal with the pain . the percs will make you feel that way . first make you feel good then more more more an the side effects after years of use can be deadly. something is telling you to taper an find other ways. its to bad painkillers help for short term use . my md said to me 1 time i wish there was a drug that he could persribe that would kill the pain without the damageing side effects. good luck an make the right choice. oh nurses can be very compationate . but this one takes quite alot meds oh there is a very fine line between dependance an addiction if you think your there you are. i am a recovering addict

Last edited by 56789; 04-08-2009 at 06:46 PM.

 
Old 04-08-2009, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Has you doctor discussed any options other than pain medication? If you have an inflammatory disease such as RA, there are drugs to treat the disease. If it is osteoarthritis, and the pain is that severe, joint replacements might help.

 
Old 04-08-2009, 09:00 PM   #6
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

If non-narcotic relief doesn't work for you, there are always the long half-life opiates like methadone and suboxone.

mk

 
Old 05-11-2009, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Quote:
First of all, there is a HUGE difference between addiction and dependence. Anyone who takes narcotic pain medication for any length of time will become physically dependent on them. If I were to stop taking my meds tomorrow, I would feel sick...physically and mentally.
Quote:
Edited to add: Data shows that only a small percentage of chronic pain patients actually get addicted to pain meds. Most confuse the physical dependence for addiction. Once they come off their meds, they go on with life as is. It's that small percentage of people who do become addicted to meds...and they usually have addicted tendancies to begin with.

Best of luck to you.
10sox
these quotes are so true. i am going thru Methadone detox (on Suboxone) and i am a chronic pain patient that had 3 back surgeries. My body is VERY dependent on the Methadone but my head tells me otherwise. I want off them SO very bad but the physical dependence is very strong. so i am powering thru this body ache and severe calf pain of Suboxone to detox off of Methadone to see just how much pain i am really in without the pain meds. If i am still in actual pain that i cant handle with OTC meds then back on pain meds i will go for my quality of life and the quality of my kid's lives. A good pain doc would know this is what is important and not under medicate you. Best of luck!

Last edited by mod-anon; 05-11-2009 at 12:28 PM. Reason: edited quotes

 
Old 05-14-2009, 05:48 PM   #8
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Have you tried some natural remedies to supplement the prescriptions? Another family member of mine and me have arthritis and have found that stretching and yoga have helped a lot. It doesn't take the place of medication, but it is a GREAT compliment to it.

Not only does it get you into some kind of movement, but it is a stress reliever also. There are many good dvd's out there and classes available for different medical conditions. You may want to see if there are any classes available in your area. Also, talk to your doctor to see if there are any other types of complimentary therapies that you can do to help with the pain issues.

 
Old 05-14-2009, 08:09 PM   #9
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Smile Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

do alot of research on this it will help , there is a very fine line some have not educated themselves to realize there is a very fine line .so fine between dependence an addiction ,it does vary but those of us who are already addicted know, its like taking the next step down the stairs ,from dependence to addiction . been there first hand , i will because of your situation say try sub or methadone they are both pain killers also, hope things get better soon scott

 
Old 06-14-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

I wrote early this weekend because I was sick of taking the oxycodones and using the fentanyl patch. So after a bad bout of flu this week I decided to stop cold turkey. I would not be owned by a drug. Today I noticed something. I am over the withdrawal symptoms but my back is at a constant 8, with pills around 4. This weekend I watched my husband bike the kids (age 3 and age 5 little cuties), I watched my parents pick up the kids for a parade, I watched them play in the pool. I took a pain pill 1/2 hour ago. Do you know why. What is the recurring theme in this paragraph. I watched!! Great job-I sucked up the pain but at what cost. It was a difficult realization to come to and I wish things were different but this is my kids lives and I will be damned if I sit back and watch instead of participating. I have decided to stop the patch and will try and cut down as much as possible. The less I take the better (by the way withdrawing is a real *****) but I will try to no longer feel guilty for taking something I need to have a life, rather than watch one. My husband put it this way- would you stop someone from using blood pressure medication or heart medication, No they need it to LIVE. I learned the hard way that I do too. You each have to find your way and decide how you want to live your life. If you are taking the recommended amount- don't stress. Please don't go through what I did to learn this lesson. Good luck

 
Old 06-16-2009, 04:59 AM   #11
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

I posted earlier to this as i was getting off my pain meds and taking suboxone. My advice then is much different than my advice now. If you are in pain you should find a NEW DOCTOR who will treat your pain. Do not feel guilt for taking medicine to take away your pain. take the stuff and live your life. Get into a pain management clinic. they will not think you are a junkie when you ask them for more. of course, you can't be obnoxious with it though. You have a valid reason for taking these pain meds and you should be treated as such. I am back on my Methadone for my chronic upper back pain (military medicine did me in for life) and i am living my life again. did i get addicted to them? oh, hell yes! did i crave them? no. i just physically was addicted but you know what? i no longer feel like a junkie for that. i realize i was a pain management patient and NEED that to be able to take care of my kids and house and live my life! SO.......FIND A NEW DOCTOR WHO WILL ADDRESS YOUR NEEDS, CONCERNS, PAINS, ETC.!!!!!!!!!!!! Best of luck to you. Keep us posted on your progress!

Last edited by mod-anon; 06-16-2009 at 12:25 PM. Reason: removed quote

 
Old 06-16-2009, 06:13 AM   #12
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

As I see from another post here that recently was having some issue about taking pain medication and addiction, and I mentioned to her obviously the same thing her husband did as a theory to look at..Would you take away or quit taking medication for high BP or Seizure disorder because of addition concerns or take medication to help live as normal as you can....I believe her husband went w/ high BP and Heard disorders....But, no matter what the medical problem sometimes we have to be on medication to live life to the fullest we can.

Being a long term pain medication person myself I have went through the same questions, concerns,anger and depression of having to take medication. I think many at one time or another have had to deal w/ such a issue but, once we realize that we are living for us, to bring us comfort and happiness to be a part of life and not sit on the side lines and always watch life as it pass by. We are not trying to avoid anything in life w/ self medication, we are trying to be involved in life and doing what we need to feel less pain to be a part of those family events that we all enjoy......Yes as time goes by our medications will have to be altered whether it be increase of dosage or an alternative medication, and that stands w/ any kind of medication for any medical reason, again even seizure disorder, heart, migraines or high BP, it all changes at some point, it doesn't mean anything bad is going on, it means our body has adjusted to the medication and needs something more to help continue w/ living normal....

Sometimes I have been able to take Motrin or Advil in replacement of one or 2 of my daily doses of narcotic pain medication and that does make me feel better at times, but I also wear a fentanyl patch as well. So if at times where the pain might not be as persistent as other days maybe something over the counter will help you and that will make you feel better that you didn't have to take narcotics and it is all about relieving the pain, not about taking medication period...If your doctor is giving you a rough time, I definitely would seek a second opinion...Don't allow yourself to suffer because of someone else's opinion..You know your body better than anyone....

 
Old 06-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Bremom -

I COMPLETELEY agree with the ladies in here on finding another doctor. I too have struggled with this problem for a long time and finally decided not long ago to go onto narcotic for PM. My life has taken a 180.

I know that there's a stigma with being a CP patient and we sometimes get labeled as drug seekers, but we all know that's not true. There is NO way for a person who doesn't suffer from chronic pain to be able to know what it's like for us and tell us to 'just get over it'. Sometimes I wish there was a way to make people and doctors that are critical of us spend 'one day in our shoes' and then they would understand.

As far as the drugs go. I do NOT think you are psychologically addicted at all. Of course your body has developed a dependency on the drug but as 10Sox and PNKWalker both said there is a HUGE difference. Just think of your pain meds as any other drug a person would take. Insulin, heart meds, cholesterol meds, etc... No body tells them to stop taking them long term and it would be crazy for them to do so, so why should you have to stop your pain meds.

If the pain meds are in fact helping you to stay out of pain or at least reduce it to a tolerable level where you can live your life, then there is no reason to feel bad or guilty about taking them. You were just given a different deck of cards as far as medical conditions are concerned, but there is no reason you shouldn't be getting treated either. If the pain meds are not helping you or are decreasing the quality of your life (addictive problems and drug seeking behavior) well that's a whole other story.

If your doctor is not going to listen to you and help you to get to a point where you can live your life somewhat comfortably, then you need to move on and find another doctor who will listen or find a PM clinic who will definitely work with you. Just a note on that. PM doctors generally do not have any more education or schooling that any other MD. Often times the ones that work in PM clinics have spent a lot of time in their specialty or have attended special seminars, but the average PM doctor generally just an MD who likes to treat the CP patients. As well, any PCP who is familiar with narcotics and other pain meds and who is willing to take the time to find the proper meds for you can be just as effective or more effective as a PM doctor. I in fact went to a PM clinic once for a while and couldn't get a good working relationship with the doctors or staff and just couldn't get on a decent regime, so after a while I decided to talk about my PCP who has now taken over all of my PM needs which works out great b/c she now manages all my meds for depression, pain, female stuff, etc...

So just get out there and see what you can find! Keep us up to date on your situation. Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:05 PM   #14
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

I've tried about 4 times to post to this concern and each time I end up scratching my head and wondering if there really is a correct or good answer and deleting what I wrote. Pain is real - everyone handles it differently and has a different threshold. I still have pain everyday and I am able to live with it, although it has been getting to the point that I need to consider talking to a doctor again about it. Then again, taking opiates to relieve the pain has its advantages, but just as many (or more) disadvantages. The lose of your body being able to produce its own endorphrins is a serious concern to consider. Opiates are opiates no matter what name they go by have have similar effects in the body. I detoxed from Oxy 4 months ago (seems MUCH longer ago) and I still do not think that my full level of emotions and endorphrin production is back to normal. So, I would hate to find out how it would effect me for long-term use.

I think the right or most correct answer is to find another doctor that specifically practices pain management. My family doctor doesn't even think twice about sending me to a pain mgt doctor because he knows that it is outside of the things that he normally works on and would rather send me to an expert. Have you tried other non-prescription techniques like biofeedback or acupuncture? It does help some people and if it can reduce your pain down to manageable levels you might be better off. Good Luck to you and your decision.

 
Old 06-16-2009, 04:16 PM   #15
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Re: How to get off Pain meds when you need them for Pain?

Yes, I have the same issue. Been on pain meds for six years for severe degenerative disk disease. My problem is (are), I have to keep taking increased doses because of tolerance levels, the drug really doesn't ever fully take away the pain, I hate the feeling of "needing" the drug to avoid WD symptoms and just to even function, but most importantly, my life and my personality have changed drastically....and not in a good way. I don't know if it's the pain making me miserable, or the pills. Either way, I find very little joy in life these days and have withdrawn from most family and friends. I want my old self back. So, since the pills aren't helping all that much with the pain, and I hate being on them, I want to try going without them and look for some alternative treatments.

But that's just me and I do have an addiction history. I'm sure there are many others who manage to take the pills on an as-needed basis, and not get out-of-control as I did.

 
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